This year marks the 100th anniversary of the Seiko brand. Now I know, you’re saying, “Hey Griffin, didn’t Seiko celebrate its 110th anniversary last year?” Well, yes. And no. It’s complicated, okay?
Alright, it’s not that complicated. The brand that would become Seiko was founded in 1881 by Kintar? Hattori. They released their first pocket watch — the Timekeeper — in 1895 and they followed that up with their first wristwatch — the Laurel — in 1913. Last year’s celebrations marked the 110th anniversary of that watch. This year’s centenary celebration commemorates the first time the name Seiko was used on a watch dial, something which didn’t happen until 1924, and Seiko has promised nine limited edition watches as part of that celebration.

True to that effort, we’ve already seen a recreation of the 1924 Seiko watch released as part of the Presage lineup, alongside special editions of the 62MAS-inspired Marinemaster and Prospex divers, and a new version of the Speedtimer. Now Seiko is bringing the Astron to the party and releasing a brand new model with a never-before-seen combination of features and complications.
Leading the pack is the aforementioned SSH156 Astron GPS Solar Kintar? Hattori Limited Edition, a bold black and gold-tone titanium multi-time zone chronograph with an integrated bracelet and full Astron Solar capability. The watch is powered by the all-new Caliber 5X83 movement, the first Seiko Astron movement to include a subdial at the 12 o’clock position, and the first to offer both a second time zone display and a chronograph together, though, like all Astrons, there are plenty more features to discover.

The Caliber 5X83 will also make its way into the standard Astron lineup with the releases of the SSH151, SSH153, and SSH155. Each of these three watches shares a case architecture, case material, super-hard coating, and overall design with the limited edition model, though only the SSH155 shares the limited edition’s black finish, and the SSH156 distinguishes itself with a handful of nice visual touches, commensurate with its limited edition status.

Besides the black and gold colorway, these changes include a sunray-patterned dial, a more elaborate bracelet, a faceted ceramic bezel with gold-tone titanium bezel frame, and a numbered gold-tone caseback decorated with a deeply embossed “S” medallion (an early Seiko logo) and a quote from Kintar? Hattori. The standard production model sacrifices the faceted bezel in favor of a titanium-framed ceramic bezel numbered 10-60.

The overall design of these is, like most Astrons, a bit aggressive, with sharp angles and a commanding presence. The three standard production models — that is the SSH151, SSH153, and SSH155 — measure 43.3mm in diameter and 13.4mm thick, though I’m not certain whether that includes the dual-curved sapphire crystal.

The limited edition SSH156 comes in a hair bigger thanks to the caseback medallion and slightly wider bezel frame. Though truly only a slight difference, the LE measures 43.4mm across and 14.1mm thick. Lug-to-lug measurements were not provided, and each of the four watches comes packaged with an extra long rubber strap that can be swapped out for the bracelet.

The new additions to the Seiko Astron GPS Solar lineup will hit the market in June. The natural titanium SSH151 and SSH153 will retail for $2,500, while the black SSH155 will retail for $2,700, and the 1000-piece limited edition SSH156 carries an MSRP of $3,900. Seiko

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